Dermatomes (Artefacts) 1.Documentary photographs of mapping dermatomes 2.Dermatome Jeans ( 3 versions)3.Presentation of Mapping and research process on real body morphologies

Karen Fleming, John Charles McLachlan, Gabrielle Finn, Aoife Ludlow

Research output: Non-textual formArtefact


Dermatomes are areas of skin supplied by a single spinal nerve and are important in illness and anaesthetics. There are standard maps of dermatomes in medical textbooks. Fleming was Principal investigator in a Wellcome Trust Funded team that rigorously mapped dermatomes onto living human body. in a number of collaborative workshops. This process was led by art and design but was not illustration. Together with medial collaborators from Durham University, Fleming developed a protocol to rigorously map the 2D data to living anatomy using cross-disciplinary teams to confirm standardization. The methodology was quantitative and qualitative. ‘Think Aloud’ Protocols (or TAP) captured responses. This enabled researchers to assess the process of task completion (rather than its final aesthetic or medical product). TAP was recorded concurrently and collected in retrospective analysis. The research revealed significant anomalies in the texts that had not previously been appreciated by professionals familiar with them. Further work examining how the craft processes of looking, seeing, translating and creating changes learning and understanding. FOUR purposes for the artefacts were identified in fieldwork- information, empathy, explanatory and narrative. Fleming and McLachlan and team members presented papers and demonstrations in education and in public contexts. Peer reviewed conference papers included Association of Medical Education in Europe (2009); Joint Conference National Popular Culture Association and American Culture Association (2009) ‘Textile Metaphors for Anatomy, The Body and Physical Difference’; European Textile Network International Conference 2008 (Keynote). Aside from clinical significance, how the conventional views came to be thus was questioned (leading to outcome 4), prompting new understanding of the maps which are found in most doctors' surgeriesThe resulting ‘Dermatomes’ body of work was published by exhibition/events with Flex and Ply at the Hunterian Museum of Anatomy (2010); Life Centre Newcastle (2010) exhibiting alongside Stelarc; Flowerfields Art Centre( 2010. One of the first pieces in the series ‘ Heidi Jump’ was exhibited alongside Incisions gown demonstrations at Science Museum, London, ‘Antennae Meet the Experts, New Developments in Surgery’ (2008) and at European Textile Network International Conference Exhibition (2008) where a keynote paper was also delivered at Linz University. The depth of engagement and collaboration was recognized in an invitation to Fleming to be a keynote speaker at the Wellcome Trust launch of ‘Medical Humanities Frontiers’ in September 2009.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationUniversity of Ulster / School of Medical Education, Durham University
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2009
Event'Does MY S3 look big in this?" Association of Medical Education Europe Conference (peer reviewed Presentation) - Palacio de Ferias y Congresos de Málaga / Spain
Duration: 29 Aug 20092 Sep 2009


  • dermatome
  • Langer
  • textiles
  • mapping
  • anatomy


Dive into the research topics of 'Dermatomes (Artefacts) 1.Documentary photographs of mapping dermatomes 2.Dermatome Jeans ( 3 versions)3.Presentation of Mapping and research process on real body morphologies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this